T&F: Track teams ready to heat up at Sun Belt

Distance runner Ryan Tilotta is among the top competitors for the Mavericks.

Feb. 21, 2014

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The time to shine has come for the UT Arlington men's and women's indoor track and field teams, as both squads are set to compete in the Sun Belt Conference Championships Monday and Tuesday in Birmingham, Ala.

UTA will be contending at the league indoor championships for the first time, but is looking to build upon its SBC success that included a men's cross country title and a runner-up finish on the women's side in the fall.

"There are some very formidable opponents in the Sun Belt and we will have to have a great meet in order to have a chance to reach our goals," UT Arlington coach John Sauerhage said. "But we feel like we are up to the challenge. We are very optimistic that we're going to have good results from both our men's and women's teams."

In the predicted order of finish polling of the league's sports information directors that was released on Friday, the UTA men were picked second, while the women were predicted to finish fourth. Western Kentucky is the favorite to win both titles.

UT Arlington figures to do much of its damage in the short sprints and distance events on the men's side, as well as in the mid-distance events in the women's competition.

For the men, All-American sprinter Clayton Vaughn leads the way. The owner of the nation's top 60m time this year (6.55) also is tops in the Sun Belt in the 200 meters (21.28).

Ryan Tilotta sports the SBC's best mile time (4:09.21) and ranks second in the 3000 meters (8:19.85), while Renan Palma sits atop the standings in the 60m hurdles with a clocking of 8.13.

In addition, Quentin Butler is second in both the 60m dash (6.76) and the long jump (24-06.25), while Philip Critelli is second in the 800m (1:53.56).

For the women, Ashly Wright sports the conference's best 800m time by 2.5 seconds as she looks for her first-ever league title. Another contender for a conference crown is Hannah Nilsson, who is second in the mile (4:57.41).

The meet will take place at the highly regarded Birmingham CrossPlex. The indoor 200-meter Mondo hydraulically banked track is one of only six in the United States and one of eight in the world.

The men's heptathlon will kick off the meet at 9 a.m. on Monday, while field events will begin at 10 a.m. Day one's running events will start at 4:15 p.m.

On Tuesday, the final day begins with the women's pentathlon at 9 a.m. Field events are set to commence at noon, while action on the track starts at 12:30 p.m.

The entire meet will be streamed live via webcast. Live results, photos and more can be found at the Championship Central page for indoor track & field at www.SunBeltSports.org.




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